in ,

Burning up in Tokyo with Campfire Audio’s Andromeda, Nova

  • fujiya_avic_spring_2016In mid-2015, Ken Ball of ALO Audio gave birth to a second company/brand – Campfire Audio – under which he now produces a range of in-ear monitors (IEMs) and (soon) headphones. Everything is made right there in Portland, Oregon.

    DAR took the first three IEM models for a space ride last November. Catch up in detail here. The short version is this: the single BA Orion (US$349) offers purity, the (single) dynamic driver Lyra (US$749) packs a punch and the quad BA Jupiter (US$899) gives us a bit of both.

    Six months later at the Spring 2016 Fujiya Avic headphone festival, two new models are being launched. The emerald green Andromeda (US$1099) – Campfire’s new flagship IEM – and the plainer looking but no less interesting Nova (US$499).

    Andromeda pumps the output of its five BA drivers through three bores. Two high, two low and one mid all wrapped in a single crossover network. Ball reports impedance at 12ish ohms at 1kHz so a sub-1 Ohm player output is probably a good idea.


    I listened briefly via a Sony NW-ZX2 and even under show conditions I found Andromeda to be a seriously impressive piece. These IEMs deliver a sound that’s rich and smooth, one that recalls the deeper satisfaction felt when better quality chocolate or whiskey greets the tongue. Early signs then of this being the universal IEM to beat at the thousand dollar marker.

    In the Nova (US$499), a pair of BA drivers run full range and without crossover. This model isn’t only for listeners with skinner wallets. It’s for those who want a thicker, more velvety take on Orion’s ectomorphic purity; and for those want more bass.

    Ball walks us through the specifics here:

    Also note: Ball has moved the entire Campfire Audio IEM range, that now numbers five, from Tinsel wire to Litz wire. The latter will ship with the new models but will also be made available for sale to early adopters “eventually”.

    On the floor at the Tokyo show, Ball’s palpable excitement was for how much the Litz wire improves the Orion’s bass. Oh – he also recommends the use of silicon tips with the Nova.

    Campfire Audio could not be more front foot if they tried so it’s nice to hear that the hard work is paying off big time. Ball reports that Campfire sales momentum is extremely strong and even the new models have attracted a healthy number of pre-orders, especially from international dealers. Good on ‘im.

    Further information: Campfire Audio




    DAR 750 x 290

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    Rip vinyl direct to AK3xx DAPs with Astell&Kern’s AK Recorder

    iFi Audio’s S/PDIF iPurifier debuts at Fujiya Avic Spring 2016